Information gathered for this report by Sharyn Chambers VHCHA
With thanks to some local knowledge, Andy and I were given directions to the last standing Rumpffs hut “SPRING HILL HUT” at Spring Hill close to where the north and south roads diverge between Licola and Mt Skene. Turning up south Rd toward Mt Useful and then left into S1 track, travel about a mile till you see some cattleyards on your left and then walk out onto the open saddle hidden behind the bush to find the hut. There is also supposed to be a 1940s dugout here but I didn’t find it this time.
The hut although still standing (only just) is believed to have been built in the early 1900s, the earliest photo of this hut that has been found so far is from 1926 as a bark hut, it was after this that it was clad in iron still using the same frame.
Photo thanks to (Rumpffs Hut at Spring Hill, 1926. The results of the 1926 fires can be seen, but the hut survived then, as it has more recently, as it was deliberately built in a soak. Our ref 03035 Maffra District Historical Society)
The Rumpffs brothers took over Annie McMicheals (nee Monds) selection after she had passed away in 2013 and eventually paid it out although it remained in her name. The Rumpffs brothers of Seaton took out the Spring Hill lease in 1921 and when the Hoskins retired in 1929 they expanded to take over the remainder of the Hoskins holdings across Connors Plains and Mt Skene
About 1942 George Barraclough and Ron Sweetapple took over the Connors Plains and Spring Hill. George Barraclough had the Jamieson side and Ron Sweetapple had the Barkly fall. The hut has always said to have been built by the Rumpffs and it was used by George and Ron through the 40s to 60s
This is now all public land. The Blocks went under selection from 1904 and the blocks were under selection until 1929 and 1939 (the dates just under the names), and were then freehold until 1981 when the (isolated blocks of freehold) were purchased back by the Crown. Hugs (logging/sawmilling family) had the freehold when it went back to the crown and on the right hand side of S1 Track there are 3 small hut/structures, these maybe from them. As far as I know the Colemans from Heyfield have the run in that area now and currently graze their cattle on the crown land and they could also be the builders of the cattle yards on the side of S1 track, a few hundred meters before the hut.
Above photo from the 1980s thanks to Linda Barraclough, daughter of George Barraclough
Rumpffs Hut Spring Hill c.1985 Photographer Linda Barraclough
Spring Hill Hut Interior, 1980s, remains of sleeping platform.- Linda Barraclough
There was a write up about this hut in a book about 1994 – please find attached a copy ……
Citation for article : Linda Barraclough ‘The bush beyond Buryoynes: high country heritage’ in Monash Public History Group (Richard Aitken, ed) “Macalister landscapes: history and heritage in Maffra Shire”. Bairnsdale, Vic: Kapana Press in assoc. with The Centre for Gippsland Studies, 1994. pages 85-96